Mandarin and sake trifle

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Victoria's gorgeous individual trifles are an exotic take on the classic dessert. Japanese Gekkeikan Horin Junmai Daiginjo Sake adds a modern twist to the fruity mandarin jelly.

First published in 2015
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Move over sherry! I’ve given the classic trifle your granny used to make an exotic makeover with fresh mandarins and Gekkeikan Horin Junmai Daiginjo Sake. Fragrant with hints of honeysuckle, this premium daiginjo sake has a clean taste and a fruity nose, which pairs perfectly with juicy mandarins. I have made the trifles in mousse rings, but you can substitute them for small glasses if you wish.





  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 100g of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 mandarins, the zest

Mandarin and sake jelly

  • 15 mandarins
  • 200ml of sake, I used Gekkeikan Horin Junmai Daiginjo Sake
  • 4 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
  • 1 tbsp of hot water

Mandarin custard

  • 250ml of double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 mandarins, finely grated zest
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 3 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
  • 1 tbsp of hot water

To serve

  • 150ml of double cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 2 mandarins, zest to garnish


Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4 and line a small roulade tray with baking parchment
Make the sponge by whisking all the ingredients together with an electric hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth over the top with a palette knife. Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely
Peel and segment the mandarins using a knife, so that all the skin has been pared off, being careful to collect any excess juice over the fruit. Pour over the sake, cover the dish with cling film and leave the mandarins to marinate for at least a few hours
In the meantime, make the custard. Put the cream and mandarin zest in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy. When the cream just comes to the boil, pour it over the eggs and sugar and whisk together
Return the mixture to the pan and stir over a gentle heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the custard into a jug, cover with cling film and leave to cool to room temperature before transferring the custard to the fridge
Lightly oil the insides of the mousse rings and use each as a stamp to press out a circle of sponge. Place all of the rings on a baking tray lined with parchment and press the cake discs down to ensure they are flush with the base of each ring
Strain the mandarin segments, reserving the marinade liquor for the jelly, and top each layer of sponge with an even layer of fruit
To make the jelly, squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine and dissolve with the hot water before whisking it into the mandarin juice and sake. Pour a generous layer of jelly over the fruit (it will soak through the sponge) and refrigerate for half an hour to an hour, or until the jelly has set
Finish the custard by squeezing the excess water out of the gelatine and melting it in hot water before stirring it into the custard. Divide the custard between the rings, leaving a little room at the top for cream. Return the trifles to the fridge and leave to set for a few hours
Spread some whipped cream over the top of the custard and flash a blowtorch around the edges of the ring moulds to release the trifles. Spoon the remaining cream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe a ring of stars around the edge of each one. Top with a little mandarin zest to garnish before serving
First published in 2015

Victoria is a London-based food writer and recipe developer. She was the Roald Dahl Museum’s first ever Gastronomic Writer in Residence and has written six books, including her latest, Too Good To Waste.

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